Any enthusiastic bike rider would like to achieve a significant increase in his cycling speed. How fast you can go is actually part of the fun in riding. If you happen to be a rider and you’re in dire need to increase your speed, use the top tips below to enhance your cycling speed:
1. Track your diet
To be able to ride at top speeds, you’ll need to either lose weight or get stronger. Cycling, especially going uphill hinges on your power-to-weight ratio or the number of watts you are able to generate per pound of your body weight. If factors like power, fitness, bike, and equipment remain constant, your average cycling speed will improve with each pound you shed. This essentially implies that consuming foods consisting of vegetables and lean meats that are correctly portioned after your cycling routine instead of indulging in pizza and beer will go a long way. Maintaining a balanced diet and staying away from junk food and drinks will make a significant impact on your cycling speed campaigns.
2. Make it habitual to ride with others
You might view this as an act of cheating, but truly, cycling with others will enhance your cycling speed in numerous ways. First, taking turns to cycle in front of the crowd will help by sharing the workload related to cutting through wind resistance, hence, making riding in a group much faster than riding solely.
Second, riding in a group gives you the extra motivation to try and keep pace with the known faster riders, and this will significantly help improve not only your cycling speed but your overall fitness for future speedy rides.
3. Learn to brake less
It’s without a doubt that braking slows you down and requires that you power up your pedals to regain your initial speed. Unnecessary braking essentially reduces momentum and wastes your energy. The best way to overcome unnecessary braking is to get rid of comfort braking. This frequently happens when you’re riding along a downhill or fast road, and it requires you to go a lot quicker than you’re accustomed to.
Braking to get to speeds you are accustomed to is perfectly good. But it’s prudent to have an eye out for the road attributes. Is the road surface good? Free of obstructions? And considerably straight? If these attributes are true, then, there is no need to brake. Just ride and enjoy the top speeds. Another critical area to work on when trying to enhance your speed is cornering. Braking, later on, will assist you to maintain your speed for the extended duration. It is important to at all time brake in a straight line to be at comfortable cornering speed before beginning to turn.
4. Your tires must be pumped up
Properly pumped tires will roll seamlessly. Before any ride, ensure you check your tires because any slight seeping of air or temperature changes can lead to softening of the tires without having to be punctured. The recommended pressure of the tire is normally ascertained by checking the sidewall. Buy yourself a truck pump to ensure your tires are pumped up from the comfort of your home. Better still, you can invest in a mini-pump that you can carry along in the case of emergencies.
5. Enjoy your music
This is a controversial one considering you have to stay focused when riding at top speeds. Riding with an iPod, also, reduces your hearing ability in case of an oncoming vehicle. However, most cycling training standards recommend it to enable you to frequently check your shoulders. This reduces the assumption that riders can hear a car coming from behind.
Apart from safety aspects, studies have shown that listening to fast-paced and uplifting music reduces the chances of fatigue. The studies stipulate that music blocks out symptoms related to fatigue liking heart beating, burning of lungs, and lactic acid in your muscles. Peddling will be faster without even noticing. Listening to faster rhythmic music will cause you to peddle by the rhythm, hence, moving faster.
6. Enhance your aerodynamics
Regardless of effort level, you inject in your cycling speed campaigns, cycling with an aerodynamic silhouette will torpedo your average speed. Statistics are stark, over 80% of any cyclist’s effort is directed to fight wind resistance. This means that you must really think deep about your riding position. Always maintain a flat back coupled with a long and low handlebar reach. At all times avoid any form of arched or hunched back. Make it habitual to look up instead of sticking your head always in the wind.
Trained up each day on this very position to find out the correct balance between comfort and performance. Whether it’s your winter bike or indoor bike, set it in the exact position to be acquainted with it.
7. Invest in the right riding kit
Buying an expensive bike is just one method of enhancing your riding performance. But if you prefer a relatively inexpensive bike, you might want to consider significant upgrades that can enhance your cycling speed. To achieve aerodynamic gain, your body plays a big role, and a significant part of your budget should be dedicated to an aerodynamic skinsuit. Gone are days when skin suits were regarded as fashion and heavily priced. Today, you can get them at no so high prices. This skin will grant you more speed gains as opposed to investing in your wheels.
Skinsuits are meant to be tight fitting to wick away sweat and heat, maintain your body cool and dry. These tight-fitting clothes render the riding tireless. Loose clothing tends to add a lot of resistance, ultimately reducing your speed.
8. Interval training
The quickest way to improve your cycling speed is to practice at speeds slightly above your threshold. It’s natural that you can’t just go all out and start riding at speeds you’re not accustomed to. Chances are you’ll run out of energy or start hurting. Most coaches advocate interval training. Interval training lets out practice at short bursts at speeds slightly above what you’re accustomed to, then slow down and blast off again.
The good thing is that interval training can be applied to any training session. It’s not a must to save it up for selected training routines. You can choose any markers like gateways, parked cars, or road signs to identify where to stop and gain and where to speed off from. Safety must be on top of your checklist by ensuring the road is clear to avoid unwanted accidents.
9. Make use of drops
If you are into sports riding, chances are you are using a drop-handled bar bike. But the real question is: how do you often utilize the drop? There is a slim possibility. However, the truth is getting down lower greatly enhances bike handling, minimizes aerodynamic drag and assists you cut corners and descend with a greater level of confidence. Riding on the drops has been discovered to reduce wind resistance by over 20% as opposed to riding on the tops.
Comfort and not being able to reach the break prevents most riders using the drops. But these factors can easily be addressed by setting up your bike properly. If your bike is well suited for you, then you should ride on the drops for much of your riding time. Stretching will do the magic as inflexible lower back, and tight hamstring complicates things.
10. Track standing
By now you must have stumbled across riders balancing without much effort near traffic lights, and for a moment thought that they are just showing off their magic skills. There is a big reason behind all that showboating and manoeuvring. While you are busy finding your pedal, they will be way ahead with 3 or 4 strokes and already be speeding away.
Track standing doesn’t really need rigorous practice plus it’s not something to be done in front of vehicles during rush hour. Leverage practicing this technique when stopping by for food or hanging somewhere waiting for friends.
To hack this, look for a slight incline. This will assist find your balance. If you are a beginner rider and not used to inclines, begin by cycling slowly in tight cycles till you find your groove. This will allow you to get an idea of balancing yourself. Ensure you ride slow and tight while initiating smooth movements.
11. Develop strong muscles
Building up your muscle for a speedy bike ride is not something easy. It takes considerable time and a high level of dedication. If you habitually ride, speed will come naturally and the distance you are comfortable riding. However, to beef up your muscle build-up and institute effective techniques, there are a couple of exercises you can employ while on the bike.
Fast peddling is one way, but it hinges on your cardiovascular system compared to slow peddling in heavy gear. In addition, fast peddling injects a sense of efficiency. But to boost up your average, learn to turn a big gear fast, fiddling a small gear. Regardless of how fast your legs turn, you won’t get there any quicker. Hence, it’s recommended that you do both pieces of training in your cycling routine, fast legs, and big gears, so when you combine them, you achieve your desired speed.
12. Start with an energy drink
Most riders may not require the calories and carbohydrates until they hit the 25-mile distance. However, drinking an energy fluid loaded with carbohydrates instead of pure water during the start of a long race can significantly help maintain your muscle glycogen reserves by about 50% in the first hour only. This essentially means that you’ll have sufficient energy reserves for the entire distance.
13. Increase your B vitamin uptake
Research indicates that active individuals with vitamin B deficiency, for example, folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and B12 may not perform optimally and may find challenges developing muscles, producing oxygen and transporting red blood cells. When you are considering heavy training sessions, increase B nutrients uptake that is vital for conversion of carbohydrates and proteins into energy and repairing worn out tissues. The best sources of B vitamins include dark green vegetable, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. For additional insurance, start your day off with fortified cereal or incorporate a daily multivitamin.
14. Incorporate amino acids in your diet plan
Muscle damage and soreness are characteristics of long rides. To add insult to the injury, you’ll experience slowness in your next cycling. Incorporating amino acids to your energy drink uptake will significantly slow down the damage and soreness. Amino acids, typically, work best when mixed with carbohydrates, so it’s paramount to go with an amino acid blended with carbs, for instance, Vital’s endurance. You can as well combine your amino supplement with your sports drink choice.
15. Squeeze your muscles after a long ride
Research suggests that the correct posture exercise massage cools down inflammation and minimizes next day soreness by over 30%. This is why pro riders have invested in soigneurs to maintain their muscles fresh, flushed and ready to ride fast each day. If you cannot afford the services of a massage yet, do it yourself by downing a pair of compression tights after a long ride. Manufacturers these days have come up with innovative gradient compression garments, which are, essentially, snug-fitting base layers, that boost circulation to ramp up recovery and minimize post-exercise soreness.
16. Boost your lactate threshold
Your lactate threshold is simply the highest average wattage or speed that you can maintain for sixty minutes. Boosting your lactate threshold means you’ll generate a higher power output at the same heart rate. This essentially means that you’ll be quicker for longer and you’ll be able to peddle at a much higher average speed.
Before you even start on your specific intervals, you will have to acquire your lactate threshold. You can easily achieve this by obtaining the maximum average power you are able to sustain in 20 minutes then multiply by 0.95. When performing your intervals, you will need to pace your intervals to conform to this number.
With all these tips on improving our cycling speed, it can’t better than this. Safety supersedes all above; that’s why you need to insulate yourself from potential road accidents by being focused and having an eye out always.